It seems like just a few days ago that this one was running around in diapers and drooling on the furniture. It seems like just hours ago that that other one was licking things out of the carpet and then depositing them back there a few minutes later. They grow up fast. The first is our eldest daughter, recently home for the summer from her freshman year of college. The second is That Pup (Indie), who has tripled her body weight in just over nine weeks. Slow down, I keep telling the world. It's all going by too quickly. Indie's growing into those huge paws, and Becca is an amazing young woman.
Somehow while all this change was going on I was here, nose to the grindstone, tape gun in one hand, computer mouse in the other, and That Dog (Jenny) got a little more gray and moved a little more slowly, so there it was ' finally, something moving at the right pace. Good old J-Dog, with her aching joints (thanks to Lyme disease) and her semi-wagging tail, serving as a forecast of what's ahead for us as we check off another year. The Jenny, always ready for a photo-op, always ready to work to move this business forward, as long as we let her take a nap first. That's the right pace.
They say summer is upon us, but I'm still wearing long underwear everyday to work, and I don't feel any sense of pride announcing that little fact to the world, or at least to the world of all 14 of you Brettuns Village newsletter subscribers out there. Its still cold in the mornings, and chilly in the evenings, and rather cool in the middle of the day, so I'm still sporting those great LL Bean lightweight things that Becca had pointed at when she was about 4 and asked, 'Hey Daddy, are you going to wear your silk panties today?' and I had to stop whatever I was doing and explain to a four-year-old how important it was that she never, ever say things like that in front of any of my fishing or duck hunting buddies. She understands it now, but things were shaky there for a while. At any rate, it's been a miserable Spring, or call it late Winter, hereabouts, with the exception of one or two days of sunshine and warmer weather, which of course meant black fly bites on the wrists and neckline. In Maine our true summer starts right around 4th of July weekend, and it tends to last about 8 weeks, at least in our part of the state. We're ready for it.
Here at BVL worldwide HQ we've been getting a kick out of the sales charts. Things are moving in the right direction ' the chart looks a lot like the profile of the southern slope of Mt Katahdin up in Baxter State Park (northern end of the Appalachian Trail, in case you haven't made the trip yet). Up, up, and away. We keep expanding the product lines, and we've expanded our storage space. Bought a new pallet jack even (still no forklift)(long story - read our newsletter archives to get a taste of that fine whine), and we keep shoe-horning in more stuff to our existing shipping warehouse. Allgreat fun, this expansion stuff. The only thing not expanding is the payroll ' we seem to do more work with the same staff, so there hasn't been much time left over for me to work up the right sort of intestinal state that yields these newsletters. Sorry about that. Here we are, half way through May, and I'm way behind on distributing the big leather news. Assuming we have some big leather news to distribute, that is. Don't worry, we've got plenty of it.
Hide prices have gone through the roof, in case you hadn't noticed. Hides are traded like most commodities these days ' it's all about supply and demand, and because of recent tightening of supplies the price of cow hides has been on the rise for most of this year. A few customers have asked us why we've increased our prices ' the hide market has something to do with it; the way we include shipping in our prices has a lot more to do with it though. UPS rates have almost doubled, thanks to gasoline prices, so we've done the Big Corporate Monster thing and passed that along, which is why we still have jobs and the lights still come on when we hit the switch at 5 am. We do our best to keep our prices as low as we can ' the goal remains the same as it has since we opened the doors over a decade ago: 'Sell it.'
The Deal of the Week remains a very popular spot on our website, such as it is, and it looks like the DOTW will soon take over the lead spot from the Clearance page in terms of popularity. We still update the DOTW every Wednesday morning, and our thanks go out to each of you who hammer your way onto that page each Wednesday am, like fans at a rock show, clogged up in the doorways, trying to get close to the stage. There are always ten items listed on our DOTW, OK, sometimes nine, and some of them have been on there a while. Those are items we're trying to get rid of, or at least trying to make a dent in the amount of it that's stored around this barn. Take, for instance, the beaded clip-on decorations in black and white that are on there. They look like tassels for something, can't really think of anything that needs crystal tassels, but you were always way more creative than me anyway. Or the piles of decorations, mixed, that are practically begging you to work them into your next Hollywood jet-setter arrow quiver with matching moccasins and ear lobe sash weights. Or Rivet-Palooza, which gives you ten bags of some of the most useless rivets on earth, unless you're an aircraft mechanic. Or the leather laces ' who doesn't need lacing to lash together trees that you've chopped down around your place in case this rain really doesn't ever stop? That's the whole point of our DOTW ' we're just concerned about your safety. Sort of. Just a reminder that we post the updates to the DOTW every Wednesday morning on the BV Facebook page. Like us and you'll get those annoying notices from us every time we post one, but at least we promise you won't get any of those dreaded Farmville updates from us. Live in farm country, dig potatoes for a season or two and playing around with online farming just isn't all that exciting.
We sell a lot of scrap leather here; it goes out to homes and businesses all around the country and also outside of the USA to those wishing to make small items, fix up something that needs fixing, or they just cram it under the seats in their car to make it smell like leather in there again (I kid you not ' you'd get a boot out of the amount of leather we sell for this purpose), and for years we sold rather large pieces of saddle skirting scrap. Week before last we got in a truck load of stuff, and a lot of skirting scrap was included. We have the typical tan color, and also a lot in oxblood (deep burgundy); this stuff is great for making heavy duty sheaths, moccasin soles, or protecting your noggin from errant sword whacks. Need heavy leather but don't need huge panels? This stuff is for you ' on the Scrap leather page.
Shell cordovan is back in stock. Black only, and just what you need to make that perfect archery finger tab glove thing that you've always wanted. You want it so bad, in fact, that the very idea of spending $125 for a piece of leather that's the size of a medium pizza makes perfect sense to you. Limited supply, get them while we have them, on the Sides and Hides page. Yes, it's horse's butt. Go figure. If shell cordovan isn't quite going to fit your project budget then take a look at the calf sides we have on our Sides & Hides page ' with a bit of buffing these would fool anyone into thinking the leather was cordovan. We'll keep our mouths shut.
A new batch of our Bourbon Shoulders arrived week before last ' a very popular leather that has NOT gone up in price. Check our Facebook page to see the incredible hats that Carol makes from this leather. Very cool, in our opinion.
Our Lightweight/Thin Leathers page is chock full of cowhide sides in many different colors ' just right for those of you who like to wear leather, as this stuff is almost all garment grade. Bone, black, blue, red, pink, navy, chestnut, amber, and some color called 'mist' are all shown there. All are under 3 oz in thickness (less than 1/16 of an inch) so your sewing machine should be able to go through this leather like green corn through the new school teacher.
New rivet styles, new buckles, and a lot of other new items all scattered around the site, so if you've got nothing better to do ' well let's say for instance that you're a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and you just flat can't face seeing them get trounced by the Red Sox again tonight ' then you may want to poke around BrettunsVillage.Com to see if there's something you need or want or can't live without. Shipping to our USA customers is always included in our prices, so there's nothing else to add at the end of the transaction. We do our best to extend this 'no added shipping cost' system to our ustomers in AK, HI, PR, GU and if we've missed anybody it's just my lack of sleep over the last 23 years that caused it.
If you live in the southern states and feel it's a bit too warm down there, please send it up. Flap your arms, use cardboard, be creative. If I don't get out of these long underwear pretty soon I may lose it. I know, 'what's left to lose?' Yes, you crack me up.
Churchill Barton, Tape Gun Repairman
Brettuns Village Leather
Someone's growing like a weed.